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Al Gilens, photographer, author, and one of the fittest 71-year-youngs on the planet rode the 450-mile Tour Des Trees on his Pocket Rocket Pro in 2004. Here's his story about using his little wheels to help make the world a better, greener place.
From Al's Bio:
Al Gilens bikes for business and pleasure, frequently combining those pursuits. A travel writer as well as photographer, he has published articles as diverse as petroglyphs in Portugal, bears in Alaska, cycling in Israel, and waterfalls in Hawai'i.
Al uses wide-range zoom Tamron lenses with his Nikon cameras, combining a minimum amount of weight and space in a kayak or fanny-pack, with a maximum amount of image flexibility.
Long days on a bicycle have become a part of Al's life since he was invited to do a story on an eight-day bike trip in Israel in 1995. He decided that he could only do the writing if he actually did the riding; that trip introduced him to the 'modern 18-speed bike.'
Several years later he followed up a two-week kayak trip in Alaska by cycling from Fairbanks to Anchorage –- six days, 510 miles, two days of snow, all in the second week of August! Lots of hours on the saddle are no longer so daunting.
Some of Al’s images can be seen at www.tamron.com, by clicking on Galleries in the Lenses section and Galleries in the Special 28-300XR section.
By Al Gilens
THE WORLD AS WE KNEW IT was left behind. We were in darkness, the only illumination coming from the tiny light on each bike. The beam hardly pierced the darkness; in truth it disappeared within a few feet, sucked into the enveloping black. We couldn't see the tunnel's walls unless we pedaled into one. Within thirty seconds we had left the daylight of the entrance behind us, the invisible other end was well over a mile away. The four of us slowly pedaled on, guided by the faded yellow line in the center of the old road.
It was the fourth day of our cross-state adventure and we had entered the Sidling Hill Tunnel, abandoned over forty years earlier from the interstate highway system. A mile-and-a-quarter of seemingly infinite blackness was an alternative to another hill. We were no longer part of a group of cyclists pedaling through the glorious countryside of rural Pennsylvania; we were four souls slipping into an unseen universe.
Fifty four cyclists started out from Philadelphia on the 2004 Tour des Trees, an effort to raise funds for, and awareness of the value of urban trees. Our destination was Pittsburgh, 450 miles and two mountain ranges away; our goal was to raise $200,000 for tree research and education.
Al Gilens up a hill
- Czech Republic
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- United Kingdom
- a BTO 'tikit'
- Bantam Friday
- Family Tandem Traveler
- Family Triple Traveler
- Haul-a-Day Custom
- New World Tourist
- Pocket Companion 2015 (fully adjustable)
- Pocket Crusoe
- Pocket Crusoe Petite
- Pocket Llama
- Pocket Rocket
- Pocket Rocket Petite
- Pocket Rocket Pro
- Pocket Rocket Super Pro
- Pocket Sport 2015 (fully adjustable.
- Tandem Traveler XL
- Tandem TwosDay
- Triple Traveler XL Tour
- uPocket Companion old 2014